Staff from Ballina’s Crowley Care Services, including CEO Michael Penhey and executive manager of finance and operations Kellie Potts, joined Page MP Kevin Hogan at the funding announcement on Wed 30 April.

More than 100 local jobs will be created as a result of the funding boost to aged care confirmed by the Federal MP for Page, Kevin Hogan today (30 March).

As reported in GP Speak last week, aged care services in the Northern Rivers are set to receive an extra $3.6 million in ongoing funding. The figure increases to more than $5.5 million with the inclusion of places in Maclean.

Not only are residents and patients the beneficiaries, as more than 100 new jobs are likely to be created.

Mr Hogan made the announcement at Crowley Care Services in Ballina, which will receive about $500,000 for 15 new Home Care places. This will create up to 15 new jobs, the MP said.

“These new Home Care places will help older members of our community to remain living in their own home for as long as possible - which is where they want to be,” Mr Hogan said.

On Saturday 27 February 2016, the NCPHN held a workshop in Byron Bay on acute and chronic pain management. This large topic was dealt with over four hours and this article will review the highlights and take-home messages of an event that was well attended by GPs and allied health professionals.

The event was well run and chaired by experienced and well-known GP educator Hilton Koppe. The program gave practical advice for managing challenging patients with significant chronic pain.

The keynote speaker was Professor Michael Nicholas, Pain Management Research Institute, University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital. He pointed out that whilst acute pain is a useful warning signal, chronic pain causes major disability and suffering.

Once pain following an injury persists beyond the normal healing time of up to three months the only realistic option is to reduce its impact. The focus needs to be on self management and daily functioning rather than trying to ‘fix up’ the pain. For a GP this revelation can be a relief from relying exclusively on the procedural or medication approach, which rarely seems to totally succeed for chronic pain sufferers, and may even make matters worse.

Aged care services in the ‘greying’ Northern Rivers will receive a funding boost of more than $3.6 million in ongoing funding, the Federal MP for Page Kevin Hogan has announced.

Around $2.7 million of the money will provide an additional 77 Aged Home Care places, with a further $900,000 for 14 new Residential Age Care beds. The need in the Northern Rivers is high, with 23% of population aged over 60 years. The NSW average is 17%.

St Michaels in Casino will get an extra 15 home care places, Ballina-based Integrated Living will get an additional 15 Aged care Beds, while St Andrews, also in Ballina, will get 32 new Home Care places and 2 residential care places.

Crowley Retirement Village will also get 15 extra Home Care places. In the Clarence Valley, the Whiddon Group will get an additional 12 Aged Care residential places.

Byron Central Hospital Entrance

You’re invited to the Byron Central Hospital Community Open Day

When: Saturday 9 April 2016 from 10.00am - 2.00pm
Where: 54 Ewingsdale Rd, Ewingsdale

Come along to the Community Open Day to preview the impressive new $88 million Byron Central Hospital - an advanced and modern health facility designed to support the whole Byron Shire and its many visitors.

Construction is now complete and the hospital is preparing to receive the first patients and Ambulatory Care clients. This is a unique opportunity to see areas of the hospital you wouldn't normally have access to.

Each tour will take approximately 30 minutes and there will be 15 people per tour. Spaces are limited so everyone is encouraged to book a scheduled tour time. Please wear flat shoes and arrive 10 minutes prior to your booking time.

Bookings can be made online from Monday 14 March - Wednesday 6 April 2016 at Evenbrite or, by calling 0409 984 488 between 9 am and 5 pm on weekdays.

Building on the closer relationship between the Local Health District and the Primary Health Network, patients can with chronic and complex needs can expect better co-ordination of care between the primary and hospital sectors. The Health Care Home model of patient management, long promoted on the North Coast, will provide better care. This will be welcomed by both patients and clinicians alike. Kerry Wilcox, Cardiac Services and Chronic Disease Program Manager for the Northern NSW Local Health District, outlines the new arrangements. 


Chronic disease management (CDM) services in the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) have been undergoing changes recently. The new focus is on working more closely with our partners to provide "the right care, at the right place, in the right time" for patients under the Health Care Home model of care. For GPs the CDM team will contribute to the seamless patient care that extends from the patient's home all the way into the hospital.